I have been thinking about technology in the digital age and how it has affected the way I work, as well as its impact on communication – newspapers specifically–compared to what things were like just a few years ago. Today I have the means to practice law from anywhere. Not only from Maine but this year so far I have worked remotely from Florida, Dallas, Downieville, Reno, Wyoming and New York City. I have been video conferencing with my office for years using Skype and GoTo meetings, but Covid was the catalyst to a new and revolutionary workspace environment. The advent of Zoom, an enhanced version of the video conference technology, combined with the years-long isolation period, has had a lasting impact on how business is conducted now in these post Covid times. I do not necessarily need the in-person setting to do my job and can make a legal case through Zoom as if I were in the courtroom. Of course, I am not able to make the direct one-on-one eye contact I usually try to do but I make up for it with other powers of persuasion. Our local hearings have been held remotely since 2020 and are just now returning to in-person events as well as hybrid proceedings, allowing for both in-person and Zoom for those unable to attend, particularly the disabled. For our office meetings with outside experts and clients, I prefer zoom to conference calls so that I can make certain I have everyone’s attention. It also enables me to share drawings, plans and surveys on the screen. The pressure to have everyone physically in the same room no longer exists.
The digital age has brought about improvements in the office, but it has impacted the newspaper industry dramatically. So many local print newspapers have folded and the larger ones face cuts and struggle on. I have thought about how the Mountain Messenger can survive and grow in this environment. Carl Butz and I met in Downieville in June and discussed ways to add digital subscribers as well as increase circulation to areas around Downieville that are no longer served by a local paper. We have many ideas but would like to hear from you, the readers of the Mountain Messenger – those of you who subscribe, or pick it up at the local newsstand, or find it online. We would like to do a podcast discussing some ideas and ask those of you who are willing, to join in with your suggestions and comments. There will be plenty of advance notice of the podcast date in the paper as well as on the website. Carl and I trust many of you will respond and we thank you in advance for helping to grow the Mountain Messenger.